Indian skipper Virat Kohli scored a career best 254 for India in first innings leading from the front.

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Virat Kohli hit a career-best 254 to go past batting great Don Bradman's Test tally of 6,996 runs and put India in command of the second Test against South Africa on Friday.

Kohli recorded his seventh double century before he declared India's first innings on 601 for five in Pune.

His 225-run fifth wicket stand with Ravindra Jadeja, who made 91, pulverized the South African bowling after the hosts elected to bat first.

The tourists were precariously placed at 36 for three at stumps with paceman Umesh Yadav claiming the two openers.

Yadav trapped Aiden Markram lbw without scoring and then bowled Dean Elgar for six as the Proteas slipped to 14 for two.

Mohammed Shami sent back Temba Bavuma caught behind for eight as South Africa slipped for 33 for three.

Theunis de Bruyn on 22 and fast bowler Anrich Nortje, on two, were batting at the close with South Africa needing another 366 runs to avoid a follow-on. 

Kohli made the day his own with a marathon innings that extended India's domination after they resumed on 273 for three.

Playing his 50th Test as captain, Kohli surpassed Bradman's total and then swept spinner Senuran Muthusamy for two to reach 200 and get the stadium crowd to its feet.

The benchmark puts him in the top 50 Test run-getters, a field led by Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar with 15,921 runs in 200 matches.

Muthuswamy had Kohli caught at slip on 208 with his left-arm spin but TV replays showed he had overstepped the bowling line and the delivery was a no-ball.

Kohli and Jadeja attacked the opposition bowlers with a string of fours and sixes.

Kohli smashed Muthusamy for a boundary to go past his previous-best Test score of 243. He ended the day unconquered with 33 fours and two sixes.

Jadeja hit eight fours and two sixes in his 104-ball blitz.

The skipper started the day on 63, surviving hostile fast bowling from Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander.

He brought up his hundred before lunch with a delightful straight drive for a boundary off Philander.

He put on 178 with overnight partner Ajinkya Rahane, who made 58 before becoming spinner Keshav Maharaj's 100th Test victim. 

India had already been boosted by opener Mayank Agarwal's second successive hundred on Thursday.

A series victory for India, who won the first of the three Tests on Sunday, will see them beat the record of 10 straight home series wins they share with Australia.